Friday, May 31, 2013

The Wolf Gift--Chapter 12

You guys are awesome. This has been the best month so far by a landslide. I love every single one of you forever.

...You're going to make me read the next chapter aren't you?

So Rubes wakes up at four AM, after having screwed Random Chick, who still does not have a name. And he is still a werewolf.

Have I pointed out yet that this is fucked up? Because this is fucked up. I am not going to address the issue of compatable genitalia, because there is not enough tequila in the fucking world to make that set of theories okay. But hey, why can't Ruben's fuck-buddy have a name? Why does her willingness to screw the main character have to have priority over her fucking identity? She's a pretty little cardboard cut-out of femininity in a flowy white nightgown, who has gray hair at thirty.

I guess Anne Rice needed a self insert.

We don't know her name. Or her hobbies. Or what her life was like before she showed up in her fucking nightgown. But we know that she'll fuck the main character. Right.

Now we're going to have about three hundred pages try to convince us that she is Noble and Right and Righetous and whatever else Ruben's Perfect Mate ought to be.


I think the most annoying thing about Anne Rice's books is that all the characters have to love each other. Or more specifically, they all love the main character and have no feelings whatsoever for each other. There is no chemistry between any other member of the cast and Ruben. There is no chemistry between members of this cast and each other. When a cast-mate wanders out of Ruben's orbit, they stop existing. The whole fucking cast is basically this:

the planet is Anne Rice.
I do not like this. I do not find this entertaining. I find it to be a waste of words that could possibly have been entertaining, and are now deader than dog shit.

 Embarrassing as it is to admit, I love David Edding's books. I read them like they are candy. This is not a boast. This is the kind of thing you admit when you're at AA and the dude running it asks if maybe you'd like to share. It's not because of the writing (DEAR FUCKING GOD IT IS NOT BECAUSE OF THE WRITING) or because of the numerous one-sided victories the protagonists are handed, or how David Edding's told that one story so well, he's repeated it SIX FUCKING TIMES. No. What I love about his writing is the characters. Yes. They are all the same characters. Sparhawk is Belgarath is Althalus, Polgara is Serephenia is Emmy is the goddess chick from that series he published several years ago, whose name I cannot fucking remember. I didn't read the Eleniad and Tamuli (...god this is embarrassing) six times because I think it is the best book series in the universe. There are many. Many. MANY better series out there, and I read those when I need something to remind me what good writing looks like. But on a bad day, when I just need to be distracted and feel better about life? I pick up the Mallorean or the Eleniad, or the Tamuli, and spend the next two days being happy. I read it because Sparhawk is kind of an ass, Kalten is more of an ass, Generic Male Barbarian Lead(s) need to go die in a fire, Talen needs to grow the fuck up and stop bitching about being put through knight school, Serephrenia is fucking awesome when you piss her off, Mirtai should be a fucking saint, she is that kind of cool, and Danae (Sparhawk too, while we're at it) needs to stop lying to her mother about being an actual Goddess because Elenia is much stronger than anybody gives her credit for, including the author. In short, I love books that shove six or eight prickly, nasty, smelly, un-PC characters together, ensure that at least two of them hate each other and that the rest would rather not have you drink much more, thank you, and then point them in the general direction of a quest and kick them out the door.

There is a wonderful alchemy in a well made cast that transcends everything else in a book. Shitty writing? The characters are awesome. Cliches? The characters are awesome. Problematic elements? The characters are awesome, I'll donate time somewhere that does something meaningful to make up for it. Is it the sixth fucking time you've revisited that particular story? Well, that's good, because it means we'll have the same characters as the last four technically unrelated books, and in case you haven't gotten it yet the characters are awesome.

Of course, your mileage may vary on the awesomeness of Sparhawk/Althalus/Belgarath (Garion can go die in a fire. Bonus points if he takes Ce'Nedra with him). But I have yet to see a vibrant, lovable, fuck-the-bad-writing cast that didn't include more than a little friction between the cast-mates. In other words, somebody in the cast ought to call somebody else in the cast a stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder, and be completely justified because the guy they insulted really is that much of an ass.

Anne Rice does not do that. Her characters are supposed to be these perfect bastions of moral superiority--the Archetype of Rightness, if you will. They do not have prickly bits. They do not smell.  Nobody drinks too much. Nobody tells the designated drunk that they are drinking too much. Sure, Eddings is repetitive as fuck, but he's fun while being repetitive as fuck because his characters are your drunk uncle and endearingly sexist cousin (who you know is going to have the tar beat out of him in a couple more pages, which is what makes the sexism endearing) and watching the flaws rub the other characters the wrong way is what makes it fun. Watching them become friends in spite of all the prickliness is what makes it even better. (And of course, the reunions after long separations are, IMHO, the best parts) Anne Rice's characters get along so well it's like watching hagfish wrestle around in their own goo. There isn't any friction, and that's what makes it kind of gross. Nobody in her stories tell the main character to fuck off. There are no in-jokes. Nobody has any real hobbies. Nobody's stuffing snakes down their blouse ('d have to have read the Mallorean) or arguing over putting boobs on armor (...this one's in the Belgariad, and in Edding's defense everyone said it was a bad idea and that nobody would mistake Ce'Nedra for a boy in a functional breast-plate) or figuring out how to shave gold off state coins without anybody noticing (the Tamuli.) There are no Salmissras or Sadis. Everybody gets along and everybody fucking worships whoever is in the main character slot, and that is exactly what kills the book deader than a vampire with a stake in its heart and garlic in its mouth.

In short: Anne Rice's characters are a lot of things, but they're not fun. And they sure as fuck are not the moral bastions of rightness that she so very fucking desperately wants them to be. Watching David Edding's repeats throw sheep at their enemies (...*sigh* Redemption of Althalus. Yes. That actually happened.) amid heaping piles of racism is much more entertaining than watching Anne Rice deify the most boring white-collar idiot since somebody threw a dragon egg at Eragon.

And just to make it really fucking clear, if I am comparing your cast to something David Eddings put together and his cast is the one that looks good? I AM NOT COMPLIMENTING EDDINGS HERE.

Right. Moving on. 

We get a description of Ruben and Random Chick's afterglow that is absolutely revolting on every possible level.

Ruben then decides to leave, because he'll change back soon and fuck if he knows where he left his car.  This happens:

He kissed her now with this lipless mouth, feeling his own fangs pressing against her.

 Her eyes snapped open, large, alert, glistening. 

“You’ll welcome me again?” he asked, a low husky voice, soft as he could make it. 
“Yes,” she whispered.

After about another page, Random Chick finally tells Ruben, the werewolf thing she's just slept with, that her name is Laura. Ruben responds with the most puke worthy line I think I've seen since I quit reading Harlequin Romances:

 “I wish I had a name,” he answered. “I’d gladly give it to you.”

This is wheels within wheels of douchebag wrapped up in a layer of technicolor pony puke. And somebody thought this was romantic enough to put onto paper, and that woman has more money and influience than any of us will ever see.

God save us all.

And then Ruben hikes his Porsche.

Because in addition to being a murdering monster, Rice just has to remind us at every turn that he's richer than fuck.

 Ruben then heads back to Los Angeles, hits the first hotel he sees, and goes back to bed.

End of chapter.

I am now going to go onto Amazon and buy the first David Eddings e-book I can find that isn't utter shit. Yes. He is a terrible writer. I'd rather read characters that I'm supposed to want to bat across the floor for their stupidity. Also, I need to get the taste of werewolf sex and tequila out of my mouth.

EDIT: ...yeah. No e-books. Because nobody could figure out who inherited the rights. This is how I just found out that Eddings died in '09.

Weekend Reading anyone?

Guys, you know I don't pelt you with "BUY MY BOOKS NOW" shit all the time, right?

Because you are all awesome and I respect you highly, and I don't want to beg. I want you to buy my books because you want to.

But look.

I'm one book away from breaking sixty this month. One. And I've got a little over twelve hours for the sale to count. And I'm really excited because that would not only make this the most Awesome Month Ever (Technically we're already there) but it would make hitting my goal for next month (365 books buy July) that much easier.

So IF YOU WERE ALREADY PLANNING ON BUYING A BOOK (This part is important, my lovelies) please do it today.

Thank you.

Oh, and here's a picture of the progress on the next book's cover. Don't say I never gave y'all anything. :D

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Wolf GIft--Chapter 11

So. In one week we will be hit with busload after busload of tourists, and my internet will become about as reliable as Windows 8. So if my posting becomes erratic, that's the reason. It's not because I do not love you, my loyal blog readers. It is because I cannot get the FUCKING POST TO LOAD.

So, where were we?

...Right. Ruben is running away from the kids and the people he ate.

You know, it takes a lot of effort to make a rescue and triple homicide boring.

The place that Ruben is going to is called Muir Woods. I just googled it, and it is a real thing. Anne Rice gives us a condensed version of the wikipedia article on the woods, and then moves on. So shall we.

Ruben swings from Sequoia to Sequoia like he's fucking Tarzan. The wood smells nice. He howls, runs around on all fours, and then kills and eats a bobcat.

...did it, like, murder its cousin horribly or something?

Anne Rice describes the eating. In detail.

He stripped succulent muscle from bone, and crunched both in his jaws as he devoured the beast with its brittle yellowish fur, slurping up its blood, its soft innards, the rich sack of its belly, all in all some forty pounds of it, leaving only its paws and its head, with yellow eyes staring at him bitterly. did the fur help him eat it? Was it, like, handing him a knife and fork? Also, I was doing great until we gave the dead bobcat bitterness at its own demise, and then all I could think about was this:

Ruben cleans up, reacts with about ten seconds of horror for acting like an animal, and then walks dreamily through the forest because emotional consistancy is for suckers.

After an hour he gets hungry again.


He eats a salmon. He eats the eggs out of a bird's nest. He gets a drink of water. He randomly quotes either Exodus or Duteronomy (I can't be assed to look it up right now) which is that part of the bible were all the random weird things are. Specifically this is the part about not cooking a baby animal in it's mother's milk. It's the randomest quote Rice could have chosen.

I'm rapidly approaching a kind of "I don't even" event horison, after which my ability to even will be gone forever.

We get the purplest paragraph in the book so far while Ruben looks up at the stars. Honestly it reminds me of really bad wolf roleplay, where you discover there are ten zillion alternative words for "eyes" and none of them work half as well as actually just fucking using "eyes" to describe eyes. 

 Ruben thinks about the men he ate. Again: He cracked their skulls open WITH HIS TEETH and licked up the blood, and probably a few pieces of brain matter Rice just didn't want to write about. He wants to cry. Then he starts laughing. Then he thinks about how ugly the woods are. Then he thinks about how pretty they are. The word "divine" is used.

In other words, we're having a full on nervous breakdown.

Well, Ruben's had his violence, he's had his food, he's had a nice drink of water and he's played in the pretty woods for a while. Gee. I wonder what could be next on his "meet my male wolfy needs" list.

Ruben starts randomly dancing and singing. And I mean RANDOMLY. Only the song he's singing is "Simple Gifts" which most of us would know from "Feet of Flames" and "Lord of the Dance", or alternatively from Obama's inauguration. It's one of my favorite songs. was also featured prominently in not one, but TWO Patricia Briggs novels. First in the first full book involving Anna and Charles Cornick, when Bran was asked to sing at the funeral of a guy he killed (it's complicated), and then in Iron Kissed, when Mercy and Sam are at a celtic music thing for Reasons.

I am not saying that Anne Rice ripped off Patricia Briggs, but Briggs was playing in the werewolf sandbox first and it's not THAT common a song.

So Ruben, in his full bloodstained wolfy glory, is singing and dancing in random circles, in the woods, and the ONLY thing I can say in his defence is that he is in the middle of fucking nowhere and the odds of any human being ever seeing him have to be a couple thousand to one.

Which means Anne Rice has no excuse for what happens next.

There is a random light on Ruben's eyelids! He smells something sweet buried under perfume! He turns around! And! It! Is! A! GIRL!

Who somehow found him in the middle of the fucking redwoods, alone, in the middle of the night, with nothing but a flashlight for company.

And yes. She's in a long sleeved blowsy white nightgown. And she's pretty. And she's not at all afraid of Wolf!Ruben, even though he's a bloodstained werewolf singing old Celtic songs to himself in the middle of the fucking woods.

And she's small and fragile and pretty and oh, just so precious. And she's holding a lantern. And he mentally begs her to not be afraid because Ruben hasn't had sex yet, and he'd rather like to.

He starts singing again, watching her. And she watches back, instead of going to get a shotgun. Because...Ruben has saved a lot of people tonight, so it's time for him to get the door prize.

That's a girl, by the way. And sex.

She's got premature gray hair, blue eyes, and absolutely perfect, wrinkle-less skin.

Yeah. Hey, Anne? Since this is going to be Ruben's prime love interest for the rest of the novel, what purpose did Celeste serve? Other than to justify him sleeping with Marchant? Are we really going to throw away the woman so devoted to Rubes that she'd overlook him sleeping with a woman who was then IMMEDIATELY MURDERED afterwards?

Well, we're going to have some kind of preliminary conversation before we go into--

 Deep in the pit of his loins the desire rose, surprising him in its intensity. He was growing hard for her. Did she see that? Could she see it? That he was naked, unable to conceal his desire, excited him further, strengthened him, emboldened him.

...I'm going to go get tequila. I can't do this without tequila. Anybody else want tequila?


And of course, Random Chick just stands there and watches this gigantic werewolf walk up to her house with an enormous, visible hard-on.

Random Chick has not said one. fucking. word. Not this whole time. She hasn't run away, so Ruben takes this to be assent and takes the lantern away from her.

HE. DOES. NOT. KNOW. HER. NAME, and yet he romantically takes her into his big wolfy arms and thinks about how all the beast knows is imperatives. Not making that up. The paragraph flows Lantern, hot paws, romantic taking into arms, imperatives. I think this is supposed to be meaningful. Somehow. 

He touches her lips with a paw--THIS IS IN THE TEXT--and then picks her up and carries her off to bed.

A bed that he has never seen before. Because it is in her house, and he's never been in her house because he only met her six paragraphs or so ago, while he was having a mental breakdown and dancing and singing in the rain.

He teleports into her bedroom. I. SHIT. YOU. NOT.

A small bedroom materialized around him. He made out an antique bed against the wall, with a high back of golden oak, and white covers that looked as soft as foam.
No transitional phrases. No description of the inside. Just "Hey, this smells nice and the girl isn't struggling--BEDROOM!"

Random Chick puts her hands all over Ruben's face. The book is careful to point out her facination with his mane and fangs.

He kissed the top of her head, and he kissed her forehead, hmmmmm, satin, kissed her upturned eyes and made them close.

The flesh of her eyelids was like silk. A silk and satin little being, hairless, fragrant, petal soft.

How naked and vulnerable she seemed; it maddened him. Oh, please, my dear, do not change your mind!


I know I like to be sarcastic with the chicks-as-the-door-prize trope, but WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS? WHAT THE FUCK AM I READING? The hero killed a bunch of kidnappers and is now LITERALLY BEING DIVINELY REWARDED WITH A GIRL. 


They start to kiss. Ruben still hasn't changed back. Random Chick says "Gently", and Ruben gives what has to be, hands down, the best piece of WTF dialogue in the book so far:

“Oh, beautiful, beautiful,” he said. “I won’t hurt you. I would rather die than hurt you. Tender stem. Little stem. I give you my word.”

The chapter ends on that lovely note.
If I give myself liver failure will the pain stop?

Why telling people not to rape won't work...

...and why we need to do it, anyway.

Yeah, folks. CW is rambling. Again. And it's probably 100% garbage, but hey, it's my blog and I can write what I want to.

We're going through our new people at work the way a movie goer eats popcorn. Staff turnover in a restaurant is an incredible thing. The only thing I can compare it to are the greenhorns on Deadliest Catch. Those of us who have been there for years--that is to say, me and the owner and the owner's kid--look at each new person and size them up. Are we going to get a month out of this one? Six weeks? Longer?

Yeah, so the new guy stole from the owner and got fired.

The interesting thing about it is there's this little speech the owner gives, that I've begun to re-enforce because it's a good speech. We do not use a Point of Sale system, because those are overly complicated pieces of shit doomed to break and/or glitch during a rush and it's much easier to teach a waitress how to write the goddamn ticket right than it is to try to make a computer overcome it's single minded programming. So you are not only responsible for tickets, you are responsible for keeping your own bank, and for keeping all the money given you at the end of the night. It's easy for somebody to go "HEY, I CAN JUST 'LOSE' A CASH TICKET AND TAKE A COUPLE HUNDRED DOLLARS HOME".

The first part of combating this is letting people know that if you lose your half of the ticket, it's a hundred bucks out of your pocket.

The second half is the speech. First, you explain about the whole, lose-this-and-it's-100-bucks out of pocket speech. Then you explain why. THEN you let them know that they're going to be bringing home a hundred bucks a night in tips, average, and much more than that in the summer, and that you can either steal a couple hundred dollars and have to go find another job to steal from, or you can continue to be honest and make a couple thousand a month working twenty hours a week. (I'm not even remotely exaggerating. This is why I put up with my shit job.)

And of course, the unspoken half of this is, stealing is wrong wrong wrongity wrong, and you shouldn't do it.

He still stole from the restaurant. AND we believe he stole from several of the employees, AND he'd already "borrowed" money from the owner, the owner's Signficant Other, the dishwasher and two of the other waitstaff. Money that never got paid back. When he left the restuaruant he told my boss "You know, I could have taken you for a lot more."

My point? Bad people do bad things. And even when you explain that (X) is wrong, people with no moral compass will continue to do whatever the fuck they want to, because they don't care about the consequences.

Ted Bundy knew that murder was wrong. Ted Bundy knew, because he hid everything he did from everybody he knew. Ted Bundy still killed lots of women. Not because he thought there was justification, not because the victims were "asking for it" (Fuck, most of his victims were trying to be nice to a cute guy with a cast on his arm) but because he wanted to, and fuck morality and fuck the consequences, he'd rather satisfy his urges than hold the moral high ground.

Also, he knew as long as he lied his ass off, he could keep the moral high ground, because that's something that doesn't have fuck-all to do with morality, just appearance and how other people accept you.

A campaign to educate men on how taking advantage of women is wrong would not have ever worked on Ted Bundy. The same mechanism that makes rapists believe they are entitled to rape their victims is the thing that makes drunk drivers get into their cars after twenty plus years of "DON'T DRIVE WHEN YOU ARE DRUNK" Legislation and education. They don't think the rules apply to them, they believe that they are in the right, and they will never, ever, ever, ever change.


And believing that you CAN change a rapist's behavior with the right education? That's just victim blaming, only you've taken it off the victim themselves and put it onto society. It's society's fault that people rape. Our educational skirt was too short, and we probably shouldn't have been in that alley of negligence anyway. 

And yet, I want to see a campaign like that. I want to see billboards up everywhere, even though I know they'd be about as effective at stopping the real monsters as a screen door would be on a submarine.


Because the culture does need to change. You can't change the bad people. You never will. But you can change the ignorant people. You can't make a man who would rape in the first place not rape just because you give him a good scolding. But you can make the MORON who says "Well, she shouldn't have been there in the first place" understand that no, that's not how it works.  Victim blaming is an engrained part of our culture. You see it in the horror movies where the Designated Slut is the first one to die, as is the Annoying Sexist Prick and the Unhealthy Fat Guy. The characters themselves are an issue, you bet your ass, but so is casting them as victims, because having an undesirable die horribly justifies their death. It provides you with a kind of catharsis and (this is the key point, my lovelies) it lessens the impact of their death on the viewer.

We're seeing that right now with Ruben the Punchable in Wolf Gift. He is killing horribly. (HE CRUSHED A MAN'S HEAD IN HIS TEETH AND THEN LICKED UP THE BLOOD) and yet he isn't being demonized because the people he kills are worse than he is.

Writers do this (cast victims we don't give a shit about so that the murderer becomes a kind of anti-hero) for two reasons. The first, of course, is that we are chicken-shits and we don't like having good people die in our stories. The second is that we have "It's the victim's fault" driven into our subconsious by generation after generation of bad movies and shitty writing.

As long as we have people who will ignore the long term consequences of their actions in favor of short term pleasure, Victims will exist. We can't change that. We can't stop that. We cannot create a consequence big enough to make them stop, or an educational program in-depth enough to change their mind. The only answer would be to remove these people from society at birth, before they indicate their criminal tendencies.

I do not believe anyone has the moral authority to do that.

But we can change the culture so that it's not the victim's fault. And maybe in the process create a world where universal condemnation exists, and where the only victim-blaming voice a person has to deal with is the one in their own head.

Edited to add: (Because, yeah, I've been thinking about this all day)

The issue I have with the whole "Tell people not to rape solves rape" arguement is that it's still victim blaming. Just on a social scale. By saying that telling someone not to do a thing prevents that thing from happening, you take the responsibility off the person being told and place it onto the person doing the telling.

This is the same mechanism that causes a victim to blame theirselves for what happened to them. It's an attempt to take control of the event by making it a failure on your part. If you had done something better (be it wear less revealing clothing or create a functional anti-rape education program) then the rape would not have occured, ergo the rape itself was controlled by your actions, and not by the actions of the rapist. 

This is a desperate attempt by the human brain to ensure that the world we live in is not outside our control. By stating that rape education would control the behavior of rapists (ie, make them not rape) we attempt to get control back from the rapists. It's why we victim blame as well, because we turn the event into something the victim controlled (or in the case of rape, failed to control) and thus make it safe for ourselves because obviously we control our own universe.

This is a monumental lie. We do not and cannot control the actions of another individual through our words or behaviors. We cannot do it on an individual basis and we cannot do it on a social basis. As long as individuals have the free will and agency to make a decision, a percentage of them will continue to make socially unacceptable decisions.

It is not society's fault that rape occurs. Just as it isn't the victim's fault that a rape occurs.

What is society's fault is when the rape is condoned. We cannot control the rapists. We can damn well control our responses. If the purpose of rape education is to stop rape, it will fail. If, however, the purpose of rape education is to make an environment safe for victims and/or potential victims, that universally condemns the criminal and universally supports the injured party, then it would stand a chance of success.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Wolf Gift--chapter 10

Those of you who have found my Tumblr will have seen the progress pics on the Starbleached Valkerie cover. Unfortunately my internet is about as solid as a toothpick statue, so I cannot post those pictures here. I tried. It will not upload. So go over and check it out, if you like.

So. Where are we?

Right. Ruben is finally taking action of his own, unstoned choice.

Yeah, I've pretty much decided that Wolf!Ruben=drugs. I've known WAY too many addicts who have acted like that when they are high off their gord to not call this one when I see it. Ruben is high on being a wolf the way a drunk is high on six shots of tequila. Congradulations, folks. We're reading a book about a self-destructive addictive spiral where the spiral is praised and the poor fuck can't detox.

He's out looking for the kidnappers, and just when this search would require, IDK, somebody with a PRESS PASS to start asking questions, his wolfyness kicks in, and he starts hearing into the police station.

Yes, the kidnappers had called again, and they weren’t going to tell that to the public, no matter who was demanding it. “We tell what serves a purpose!” a man insisted. “And there is no purpose.” “And they’re threatening to kill another child.”
Dialogue is not Anne Rice's strong point.

Anne then takes a page out of L. Ron Hubbard's trick book and starts doing those lovely one-sentence paragraphs that writers think gives a sense of urgency, whereas in reality it just pisses the readers off. Glass house here, because I like using them too. I just don't like using it four fucking sentences in a row:

And it was all Reuben needed to confirm what he already suspected. 

Cop cars were crawling the forest and mountain roads.

 There were random checkpoints and house-to-house searches. 
So law enforcement was his only enemy now as he began his search.
I've spent the last two weeks editing my own work. And I am not good at editing. This is making me twitch. It is all I can do not to rewrite that into something coherent. SERIOUSLY. WHY CAN THE "SO" NOT BE A PART OF THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE? THAT IS WHY SO EXISTS. THE FIRST SENTENCE IS FUCKING BEGGING FOR A COLON.


And then Ruben smells evil.

Is it Axe body spray? Because I always thought that Axe body spray was the perfect scent for evil. It can pretend to be cool and pose next to the bar, but we all know it's a total douche and we're not going to let it serve us drinks.

And then...things get confusing. Ruben hears voices (Because Ruben is high and bugfuck insane) and it is two reporters who say they are investigating the kidnapping, and are going home, but that's not where they're going...though how Ruben could possibly know this is WAY beyond me. And then we lose any pretence that this is Ruben's POV and we just plunge straight into third person omniscient:

They were hurrying across the parking lot towards a waiting Land Rover with its lights on. Driver inside anxious, scared out of his wits, Will you come on!

Anne Rice totally doesn't need an editor to catch her fuck ups, guys. Her writing is absolutely perfect.

Yeah, it totally turns out these guys are the kidnappers, posing as reporters to find out who knows what. And the reporters outside the police station don't know anything, which means nobody knows anything. Because it's not like the cops sit on evidence or anything, right?

This manhunt was highly underwhelming.

Also, the kidnappers have another body in the car with them, and they're looking for a place to dump it.

SO. The dangerous evil kidnappers NOBODY ELSE COULD FIND drove up to the police station WITH A DEAD BODY IN THE TRUNK just to find out how much the cops know, and now they're trying to find a place to dump it.


Our genius kidnappers decide that dumping him after one of their deadlines--as yet unmentioned--will make it look like they just killed the kid.


Ruben shapeshifts while driving.

I'm pretty sure there's a law against that.

And then this happens!

Then another chorus of sounds flooded his ears.

It was the children, the children crying, and sobbing, and the women’s voices crooning to them, singing, comforting them. They were in an airless place. Some of them were coughing, others moaning. He had a sense of utter darkness. He was almost there!



 By the way, this entire thing is a car chase. The kidnappers are driving a Land Rover. Ruben is driving a Porsche.

It's obvious nobody in this novel is making minimum wage.

Ruben discovers that the kids are being held in a barn. He decides he's had enough of this shit and roars, thus alerting all the kidnappers to his presence and giving them the chance to either shoot him or escape.

Ruben is a moron.

So now he's Wolf!Ruben, and he's chasing dudes down because Plot. One guy falls down, and it is time for Our Hero to show what he's made of:

He caught the first man easily and ripped his neck open, watching the blood spurt. With all his soul, he wanted to devour the man, to close his jaws on his flesh, but there was no time. He lifted the broken body, squeezing it greedily in his paws, and then relinquished it, heaving it far away from him, out towards the distant road.

Anne Rice finds this praiseworthy. Moving on.

Ruben finds another kidnapper. He crushes the man's skull and:

It thrilled Reuben to run his tongue over the blood pouring down the man’s face. Killer, filthy killer.

I just finished re-reading Apt Pupil, the one Stephen King story that made me sleep with the lights on. This has managed to creep me out even more. Because we're supposed to be rooting for this guy. The guy who just crushed a man's skull with his mouth and is running his tongue over the pieces of his skull.

The third kidnapper is huddled in a corner. He's pissed himself in terror, he's helpless, even the text says he's helpless. Ruben will at least go through the motions of restraining this piece of shit, right?

He slammed the jangled body against the floor. Still unsatisfied, his growls as loud as before, he picked up the corpse and threw it against the side window of the room and the glass shattered as the body vanished in the falling rain.

And then Ruben starts howling in anguish because he killed everybody too fast and now his fun is all gone.

I read Darkly Dreaming Dexter. Dexter himself is not this fucked up, or nearly this fucking creepy.

And then Ruben remembers the children. He has to get to the children.

If I were writing this, I would have him try to eat them. And then stop himself at the last second, and go for help because DUDE YOU JUST KILLED THREE PEOPLE IN HORRIFIC WAYS IN COLD FUCKING BLOOD YOU ARE AN ANIMAL AND YOU NEED TO BE RESTRAINED BEFORE THIS HAPPENS AGAIN. 

Anne Rice is writing it, and it goes pretty much the way you expect. Ruben saves everybody he decides deserves to live. He trips the house's alarm something, I guess. Call an ambulance, maybe? And then he goes out to the barn to find the bus, and...

I'm sorry. It's just this image is kind of the most precious thing in the universe:

There in the bright light from the house, he saw the bus, draped in chains and tied around and around with duct tape— a torture chamber.

The dangerous super-hacker kidnappers restrained and duct-taped the bus. Not the kids. Oh, no, not the kids. They left the kids moving around inside, screaming and whatnot. But they restrained the fucking bus. Because maybe the bus might run away.

Ten bucks says a ball gag was taped to the grill.

Ruben yanks the doors off, lets the kids free, and then runs off into the woods so the kids don't get scared by all the icky blood still dripping off his hands and whatnot. End of chapter.

...Yeah, I can't get the image of a duct-taped and restrained bus out of my head. 



I am happy CW today. :D

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wolf Gift--Chapter 9

I spent most of today either editing (WAS -ING's NEED TO DIE) or giving my room a much needed cleaning. I don't like cleaning. At all. I am a disgustingly terrible slob and if I am given a choice between dental surgery and cleaning my room I will happily go under the drill. Probably the number one reason I have not aquired my own residence is houses involve more than one room to clean and it gets rather overwhelming.

(...technically my issue is I have no idea where to put things. And where most people go "bookshelf, storage bin, storage bin" I usually sit there staring at the object as if it had magically appeared in the middle of my floor, even though it is the knitting needle, box of acrylic jewels or baggie of solvant-resistant glitter I've had for six weeks, wondering where the hell I can put it. Give me a box labled "glitter" and put it on the shelf and I own that fucker, but it's a lot harder for me to think of what to do with it on my own. I call this being lazy as sin.)

As for the editing, it's looking pretty good. We should be ready to go by drop-day. And then I get to try to get the next Gray Prince book out (hey, remember back when I had three series going? And it lasted for like one book? And then I gave up?) in two weeks. And that's not going to be a lot of fun.

And...*sighs* I have gone over to the dark side.  It's a tumblr. With me attached to it. So basically it's where all my random not book-or-blog related stuff will go. Art ramblings and things of that nature, and whatever the hell else I decide I want to put there. I've actually had it for months, but I've never done anything with it. Now you know where to find it. And I promise to put things on it. Have fun.

Right. So where were we?

Ruben is in the World's Greatest Mansion, and his handyman, Leroy, is a psychopath. Fantastic.

I'm gonna go get a beer now.

Alright. What's this chapter like?

HE HADN’T BEEN the least bit afraid of anything when he’d come here the first time.

Well, that's understandable. Ruben was prime grade A prick before, but now he's got a healthy dollop of survivor's guilt, he's returned to the crime scene for the first time, he watched a woman he liked well enough to screw die right here, he had a panic attack in the hallway...yeah, he's probably very humble Tigger right about--

And now he was far more removed from fear than he’d been then. He felt quietly powerful, resilient, and self-confident in a way he’d never felt before the transformation.
Oh, fuck you gently with a chain-saw, Ruben.

Now, I understand this impulse to make a character be beyond fear, pain or danger. I usually fight it with all the streingth I've got, with middling-to-fair results. Anne Rice apparently thinks the impulse to keep her precious characters from emotional danger is a good thing.

But let's look at this from a normal human POV: You were almost murdered in this house. Your sexual partner of about five hours or so was murderered here. You encountered a monster that changed your entire life here. You are changing into a monster rather similar to it, and you've eaten four people in two days without entirely meaning to.

I'd be scared. I'd be really, REALLY scared. I'd be "Mr. Officer, sir? Can you put me into the drunk tank overnight? No, no, don't put anybody else in with me. Humor me. Please. We'll talk again in the morning".

My favorite scene in character development is probably that scene in Fight Club where Edward Norton realizes that he is Tyler Durden, and that Tyler planned a terrorist campaign that will end badly for everyone, and the very first thing he does is grab every shred of evidence he can get his hands on and go straight for the cops. (Who turn out to be Fight Club members. I heart that movie so hard). Mostly because that's the overwhelmingly right thing to do. If you have an alt who is killing people and you know it, reguardless of co-consiousness, and you are a basically good human being? YOU TURN YOURSELF IN AND GIVE A FULL CONFESSION. If you are a great human being you spend the entire trial refusing an insanity defense because your alt knows right and wrong just as well as you do. What makes the author of Fight Club a great author is not that he did this, it's that he then had it backfire on the main character so hard it left cracks in the e-reader. Good writers do not avoid smart plot developments that would destroy their own plot. They invent a work around, and use it.

Ruben does not turn himself in. He continues to expose society to the danger that he represents, and he justifies it because his victims were criminals. He has no evidence that his powers are not infallible. Ruben is not a good person.

Ruben doesn't like to be alone. We get a description of his upbringing that is basically "I heart money" and more mourning for a woman he knew for all of five hours, six tops.

Ruben explores the house. Again.

I am now powerfully motivated to build a scale replica of this house in Minecraft, fill it full of TNT, run the world's most epic redstone line away from the front door, build a lever, place it, and then flick it to on. It wouldn't accomplish much but OH GOD WOULD IT BE SATISFYING.

Ruben see-saws between his obsession with Felix Nideck and mourning for Marchant, who is shaping up to be Ruben's One True Wub after all. The L-word is employed at least once during his search of her office, and at one point during dinner he stops eating and prays to her soul for forgiveness for forgetting that she died here.

I'd much rather have an apology for letting me die. I mean, I know it wasn't his fault, but I'd rather be alive than somebody's sainted memory. If you're obsessing over me that hard, I'm gonna haunt your ass until you forget.

And Celeste calls, and we find out that Ruben, Patron Saint of Werewolves and Journalism, has been a reporter a grand total of six fucking months. 

Dear Everybody involved in producing this book: Reality is this way:

Also: Ruben thinks that Celeste is irresponsible for going to a movie with a friend while 42 children have been kidnapped.

UH, DUDE? You are the one who has supernatural Werewolf-drug powers, and you are the one who just RAN THE FUCK AWAY and hid in the opulent mansion YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS OWNING.

Ruben goes into the library and reads a lot of old names that will become important later.

PLEASE GOD, DO NOT LET ANNE RICE MAKE HER WEREWOLVES IMMORTAL. It was stupid as shit when Stephenie Meyer did it, but we could forgive it because immortal wolves are nothing compared to VAMPIRES THAT FUCKING SPARKLE. LIKE FAIRIES. DIPPED IN BODY GLITTER. Anne Rice has a reputation for being better than that. PLEASE. NO IMMORTAL WOLVES. PLEASE.

Ruben then sends himself an email, via his Iphone, with all their names in it.

Anne Rice severely overestimates the ability of thumbs. I heart my smart phone--it's only problem is that there is a phone involved--and if I have to record that many names? Pencil and paper. It's faster, it's not frustrating, and it doesn't crash the way EVERY WORD PROCESSING PROGRAM EVER has when applied to a phone/tablet system.

And then Ruben goes into Felix Nideck's bedroom and finds a book on Catholic theology.

Anne Rice has every right to write about her religion. Fuck, I stuffed so much Christian iconography into This Found Thing I'm amazed those of ya'll who read it didn't rise up in rebellion and shoot me. But Ms. Rice lost all my respect when she wrote a novel on the life of Jesus...WRITTEN IN THE FIRST PERSON. 

I read part of the first chapter. Like, the first two pages. Then I put it back on the shelf. The alternative would be to take it home and set it on fire (I am so not even remotely kidding) and I didn't want to give Rice the money. It's on a level with Kingdom Come, that GOD FUCKING AWFUL sequel to the Left Behind series, and it managed to reach that status after two pages. So yeah. Every time Anne Rice says "God" I twitch violently and look for the nearest door and/or lighter.

...she would have gotten bonus points from me if it had been Thomas Keating.

Then he went back down to Felix’s old room that he would occupy tonight, and he felt a little panic that he’d been here so far away from the television news that had sustained him since he’d been old enough to turn it on at the age of four.


And then Ruben realizes that something's missing from the room. Specifically, the antique, ancient tablets that were in every room prior to this, that I neglected to mention because THIS IS A FUCKING HOUSE.

Seriously. This is a book about werewolves, and a superhero-orign story, and we are OBSESSING OVER ANTIQUE TABLETS FROM MESOPOTAMIA. AND THE B-52s ARE SOMEHOW NOT INVOLVED.

And whoever stole them managed to get every single one out of implied hundreds, but forgot to dust the shelves. Careless bastards.

Ruben panicks and tries to think who would steal all of Felix Nideck's treasure and those of us who have read urban fantasy and science fiction and comic books all our lives already know that it's Felix Nideck himself, and we're going to meet him in another eighty pages or so.

Anne is one of those writers who swears she never reads books in her own genre, right? Well, she sure as fuck ought to. At least read the TV Tropes sections, because that plot device is probably older than those fucking tablets.


 Who would have left the little boxes of ancient coins and, look there, a medieval codex in plain sight, and he’d seen others upstairs, books that libraries would have paid a fortune for.
This one loses its point halfway through. It all falls apart if you remove that paranthetical phrase, look there, which is about as useful as a hat on a goat (all parantheticals are about as useful as hats on goats. They are parentheticals because they've got no fucking business being in the actual sentence and the writer knows it.) (But they put them in anyway, because sometimes they add to the voice). Remove it, and the "sentence" reads:

Who would have left the little boxes of ancient coins and a medieval codex in plain sight, and he’d seen others upstairs, books that libraries would have paid a fortune for.
And it ought to read:

Who would have left the little boxes of ancient coins? And look there, a medieval codex in plain sight. He'd seen others upstairs, books that libraries, ect ect.

Ruben then compares his precious antique tablets to dried cookies.

I don't even.

Ruben then demands all the police photographs so he can find out when his tablets were stolen, so that he can report them missing if he needs to.

Folks, if I were a cop, and I were given a report on missing items in a house inherited under mysterious circumstances, I would start to investigate the shit out of whoever called. And I would also have removed the items in the first place, because I am proud to be that kind of bitch.

(It's my word. I can use it if I want to)

Ruben makes more frantic calls, and then imagines one of Felix's friends showing up to rescue all his tablets from the little shit-head who inherited the house after Marchant died. Under those mysterious circumstances. And of course Ruben fantasizes about convincing this imaginary person that he's the perfect human being/wolf to take care of these lovely treasures.

Speaking of which, "treasure" stopped looking like a word several pages ago.

Oh, and Ruben has Honorable Intentions. His Honorable Intentions are so honorable that they will overpower everyone else's common sense.


Ruben researches Marchant's murder long enough to realize the story went viral and that Felix's friends could have heard about it--because it isn't like one of them could have a google alert on their buddy's name or anything, given that the dude is missing and they'd probably want to know when he was found--before he abandons everything to research the kidnapping.

Well...Rice got the ADD of the internet generation right, but it's a little humbling to see that in print.

Either that, or she really sucks at transitions.

The only positive is, after pages and pages of her death being mentioned ONE CHAPTER AGO, the little dead girl gets a name and a halfway decent description. Her name is Sarah Kirkland. I'm giving Anne big kudos for that and I'm not being sarcastic. The only thing that sucks is that her death is being used as motivation to get Ruben off his fucking ass, and is not being treated as the horrible fucking thing that it actually is.

Then Ruben paces because the change isn't happening early enough for his taste.

I can actually commisurate with this, because I am a girl and there are months where I start literally shouting "OH JUST GET IT THE FUCK OVER WITH ALREADY".

Ruben's mom sends him an e-mail about a specalist in Paris. I'm calling it: This is that cloud-the-size-of-your-hand in plot, isn't it?

At this point, Anne, can we stop dropping plot threads and just have a fucking plot? 

Patricia Briggs. I know she's controvercial among some of ya'll because Reasons, but at least at this point the kidnapping/murder/vampire threat would have happened and Mercy/Ana would be sticking her nose into somebody else's business, and Sam/Charles would probably be Suicidal, and Adam would be all patronizing and shit, but in that "I know I'm a shit-head" kind of way that lets you know he'll let Mercy get away with it, and Zee would get involved because Zee is awesome, and Marcillia would be showing signs of being both involved and batshit insane (UNLESS WE ARE TALKING ABOUT FROST BURNED BECAUSE FUCK THAT BOOK SUCKED)

And if this was Lois McMaster Bujold we'd be knee deep in the theological repercussions of posession by demons/gods/animal spirits, a major character would have died and the main character would be pretty much at the halfway point of the "travel" period of the book. (PALADIN OF SOULS. READ PALADIN OF SOULS. OH MY GOD BEST BOOK EVER)

...of course, if this were Anita Blake we'd still be in a pissing contest involving cops and insert-cool-were-animal here. (Hippos. I want were-hippos. Bonus points if the lead were-hippo is someone who had anorexia/bulimia issues in her past that she never got properly addressed and now she has to deal with being the fattest and baddest animal on the block, and her therapist is absolutely thrilled because it means she has to actually handle her issues instead of avoiding them as long as she's over 110 lbs)

Ruben then orders plants for the conservatory. Obviously he wants tropical because he orders (sigh)
orange trees, ferns and bougainvillea.

FYI, bougainvillea are evil. They grow like "HOLY FUCK, THAT WAS MY HOUSE YESTERDAY AND NOW IT'S A PLANT", they have thorns that wouldn't look out of place on the most sadistic crucifix you can imagine, and they are poisonous. We have them in front of the restaurant. My boss is always trimming them, and I do fucking damn well mean "ALWAYS". When we are slow, she's out there with hedge clippers.

If you get bougainvillea voluntarily, and you don't bonsai the fucker on purpose, you hate your landscaper. In this case it is Leroy, the dude nice enough to scrub Marchant's blood off the floors for Ruben.

This paragraph happens:

He went online and ordered a laser printer for this library, and a desktop Mac to be delivered as soon as possible, and a number of Bose CD players, and a whole slew of Blu-ray. Bose CD players were the only obsolete technology he loved.

Bose is paying Rice money, aren't they? Fuck, are they desperate.

Finally, Ruben is so restless he goes out to chop wood. Because he isn't changing shape.

I get this. Usually when I am on call, I am spending every single minute on Minecraft instead of editing, because I usually can't focus on writing until 7:45.

Ruben then decides not to chop wood, and simply brings the axe inside, because it's the only weapon he's got. He dumps it beside the fireplace.


Ruben decides to put on his werewolf disguse--intended to hide that he is a wolf, naturally--and go driving until the change happens.

And then he talks about how much he loves his house. Again.

I'm serious. Minecraft replica. TNT. Catharsis.

And then we get...this:

Think. Think like a kidnapper who has to hide forty-two children. Think like a ruthless tech genius that can bludgeon a little girl to death and throw her on a lonely spit of beach in the rain, and get back to where he’s warm and comfortable, where he’s got his computer handy for routing his bank demands and his calls.

WHY IS THIS A TECH GENIOUS? Because he's smart enough to use a Tracphone and one of those IP randomizers? That means he did his research, not that he's a tech wiz. A tech wiz could have stolen money without needing to kidnap innocent children.

The chapter ends with Ruben figuring the kids are under everybody's nose.

Great. We're finding them next chapter and saving them within three. I really hope I'm proven wrong but I do not have much hope.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Wolf Gift--Chapter Eight

Memorial day is the day when Americans all gather together, be respectful towards servicemen, and then go harrass the everloving hell out of people in the service industry because they don't have to go to work on a Monday.

In other words? I AM TIRED, MY LOYAL BLOG READERS. SPLIT SHIFTS. EVERY DAY. Oh, and it is now summer and in the low to mid ninties. I WANT TO GO SOAK MY HEAD IN ICEWATER.

I am going to do this review, edit more wases out of the next Starbleached book, and then go build things in Minecraft for a while.

I'll be happy to post screenshots.

So where are we?

...right. Anne Rice discovered superheroes, and Ruben is off to research the million dollar mansion he would have bought spur-of-the-moment if its owner hadn't died and willed it to him on the spot.

...WHY WOULD YOU NOT SEE THE PROBLEMS IN THIS PLOT LINE? Better yet, why not have had the first chapter be Ruben and Marchant signing papers re: the sale of the house or something and then go get into bed. WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT THAT RUBES ONLY KNEW HER A COUPLE HOURS? THIS DOES NOT IMPROVE ON HIS CHARACTER AND--

Okay. I'm stopping. I know. We're way past that point. It still bugs me.

So Ruben calls the lawyers and asks if he can go visit the house he inherited under suspcious-as-fuck circumstances because Plot. Lawyers are all like "yeah you can, here are the keys PLEASE TALK TO THE CARETAKER WE ARE TIRED OF DOING YOUR CHORES FOR YOU".

And because there couldn't possibly be anything modern in the World's Perfect Mansion, Ruben brings his second, old computer (...yeah at this point anybody over the age of twenty-one has the new computer and the old computer so I'll give Rubes a pass on that one) and, very specifically, Bose DVD players.

I kind of like brand-name love in books, because it's a part of life. Mt. Dew. Malibu (as in the coconut rum and not the place). Nissan, Hewett-Packard, Exxon. It's kind of hard to write a book in modern times without having somebody pass a McDonalds, a Wal-Mart and a Starbucks along the way.

(...Unless you live in my city. We broke our Starbucks so they went away. Some people mourned their ability to purchase overpriced coffee in which "tall" equals a small and something quasi-italian replaced "Large". I did not. Like most sane people, I didn't like the coffee. Mostly because I could buy a decent book for the same price)

THAT. SAID. There is something very sad about the brand-name drops in this book. Y'all HAVE watched Megamind, right? (If you haven't, go fix it right now. We'll wait) You know how Megamind keeps mispronouncing words? Metrocity becomes MeTROSity, revenge is REVANGE! and it's basically showing you that Megamind is a shut-in who reads a lot and doesn't talk much. Yeah, Anne Rice's brand-name drops are kind of like that. It's like she came across this weird object in her mental processess and wikied it, realized Diet Coke is a thing to the rest of the world, and decided to use it in the book without properly understanding the social connotations (namely, that Diet Coke tastes like floormats, and you shouldn't be drinking it)

Also? I googled Bose DVD players. I have a passing familiarity with the brand because it's the sterio system Rush Limbaugh continually pushed during the 90s (When my dad listened to Rush, and only Rush, on long drives back before MP3 players were a thing. I don't really know which was worse, actually, three hours of enforced Rush Limbaugh discussing Why Monica Lewinski Sucks--I think at one point he used those exact words--or three hours of Silly Songs with Larry.)

(...actually, let's go with Silly Songs with Larry. It kills fewer braincells.)

Anyway, Bose makes MASSIVELY overpriced speaker systems (FIVE HUNDRED FUCKING DOLLARS FOR A FUCKING CD PLAYER ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?) and cables and many other things, but you know what my google-fu has failed to find? ANY HINT OF BOSE DVD PLAYERS. And I've looked. Amazon shows no evidence of these things, nor does Best Buy. Nor does Bose's own website. Which makes sense, because THEY ARE A SPEAKER COMPANY. NOT A DVD PLAYER MANUFACTURER.

Please. If anyone can find me a Bose brand DVD player, PLEASE LINK ME TO THE SUCKER. Otherwise, I assume that Anne looked at her personal entertainment units and read the brand off the speaker hub rather than the actual DVD player.

 ...I'm not even off the first page yet. Help.

Ruben thinks that he has to get alone to control his powers and see if he can put off the transformation, or force it, depending on how he feels:

Whatever the case, he had to get away from everything, including the voices that had drawn him into the slaughtering of four people. He had no choice but to head north.
I like how the murder of four (admittedly awful) individuals is just dropped in there like an afterthought. "OMG I HAVE THESE POWERS, AND THEY'RE KIND OF COOL, AND THEY TURN ME INTO A WEREWOLF AND I CAN HEAR EVIL DEEDS AND I CAN TELL IF YOU ARE EVIL JUST BY SMELLING YOUR BO and I accidentally sort of killed four people. oops. " 

Ruben is starting to make Bella Swan look downright altruistic.

And you know, Anne Rice's downright refusal to use the words "werewolf" outside of Ruben's research into his own condition is kind of weird:

The Man Wolf— that’s what they’re calling him. You could get a cut from the mugs and the T-shirts, you know. Maybe you should trademark ‘Man Wolf.’
Nah. That couldn't have ANYTHING to do with weird-as-fuck-writing choices.

He calls his boss, Billie, on the way in.

“You scored again, Boy Wonder,” said Billie. “I don’t know how you do it. It’s been picked up by the wire services and websites around the world. People are linking to it on Facebook and Twitter. You gave this monster, the Man Wolf, some metaphysical depth!”
Uh...yeah. About that...anybody ever heard of Amy's Baking Company? Google it. I'll still be here when you're done. Linkings to twitter and facebook don't equal quality. It's more likely to be one of those point-and-laugh kind of things.

 So after blathering about the werewolf for a few more pages, Ruben asks Billie about the missing forty-two students and teachers, and it's basically like "Nothings happening. Back to the werewolf"

Billie suggests that the werewolf save the kids in the name of Vigilante justice. Because no way Spider-Wolf here could have thought of that on his own. Ruben feels faintly ill when he remembers killing people, and then is all like "PHHH, they were murderers and rapists and they don't deserve my guilt" and he continues driving.

Human!Ruben has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Ruben hears people talking about the werewolf being a costumed crusader--seriously? Did Rice just, like, suddenly discover that superheroes exist? Did one of her grandkids take her to see Rebooted Spiderman? Or has she been saving up seventy plus years of pop culture for one huge fucking ripoff grand explosion of literary frenzy?--and so he decides the best thing he can do is go to Wal-Mart and buy a costume.

For the werewolf.

It involves big boots and raincoats.

And then...Anne Rice drops completely out of third person and into first for half a second:

Around four o’clock, he reached the forest road leading directly to Marchent’s house— well, our house, that is. The news sang on.
Either Rice forgot to properly format someone else's thought process, or she is literally living in Marchant's house with Ruben, and either way an editor would have cleaned that right up. Just saying.

There is a LONG discussion of werewolf spit, and then an itty-bitty footnote about one of the kidnapped children being found dead off the beach. And of course it's a little eight year old girl, and Rice would probably have dressed her up in victorian lace if she could have gotten away with it.

And then he reaches the house and it's like "What little girl? I HAVE AN AWESOME HOUSE!"

Then we're back to the dead little girl.

And then we're back to the house.

And then we move on to Ruben's supper.

The handyman fixed it for Ruben. The handyman's wife cooked it. Well, actually, she just drove out to the restaurant and picked it up, but she was the prime mover behind its manufacture! WE NEEDED TO KNOW THIS, BLOG READERS. WE NEEDED TO KNOW.

The handyman's name is Leroy. I am now imagining this guy:

and I will be very put out if Ruben doesn't demand that Leroy give him back his shoes at some point.

Ruben reaches the point where he almost died and has a poorly-described panic attack. Leroy rants about how the mountain lion that got Ruben took his dog and he's hunting it now, permit or no permit.

We get a three page description of the house's furnature, thanks to Leroy.

There's also a ramble about how Marchant hated TV and she brought friends up here all the time, which is WEIRD because I could have sworn the beginning of the book implied that Marchant had only recently inherited the house and was trying to offload it before her brothers wrecked the place. Apparently this involved lots of dinner parties, but no television. Ruben asks for one. He demands it be a "good flat screen".

You know. As opposed to all the other kinds of TV they sell in electronic stores these days.

It'll probably be Bose. Like his DVD players.

We also get a long ramble about how awful the brothers were for dragging out the silver and scattering it everywhere to make it look like a robbery. It being Marchant's murder. Because, you know, making a mess with the serving stuff totally compounds the brutal stabbing murder of your own sister.

Ruben realizes he isn't hungry anymore:

Eating right after a “death” had always revolted him. He remembered when Celeste’s brother had died in Berkeley. Reuben had not been able to eat or drink anything for days, without vomiting. haven't eaten a damn thing since you killed four people? AND WHY IS DEATH IN RANDOM QUOTATION MARKS?!? Also, how terrible that he suffered after Celeste's brother died. How awful. Her brother's death was all about Ruben.

Please go die in a fire.

Ruben then orders Leroy to buy groceries:

And stock the freezer and the pantry, you know, with all the usual stuff. I know how to defrost and cook a leg of lamb.
Yeah. I wanted to make lamb stew once. Also, my restaurant did leg of lamb for Easter, and got sent a leg of mutton instead, and my boss, when she figured this out, called our supplier and had a "talk". The kind you save for when there are no customers because the language will peel the finish off the wood. I know exactly how much lamb costs. Fuck you, Ruben. Fuck you.

After getting yet another tour of this fucking house--seriously, this book is almost as bad as the dude from my old writer's group with the Texas Mystery-and-possibly-Nazi-House. (It was in Lamar. It had a three-storey basement. I remember all the details because that was all he brought to writer's group: discussions about the house. Not actual pages on the house. Just more pictures and more unwritten stories about the house.)--the handyman leaves and Ruben settles in for another night.

End of chapter.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Wolf Gift--chapter seven

First off, let's start the night off with a huge shout out to Tiger Gray. Thanks for the mention, and VERY nice blog you got there.

Now, before we start the review I'd like to mention the Bulwer-Lytton contest. The Bulwer-Lytton is a contest for bad first sentences, but the sentence it is named after isn't purposefully terrible. It's just long, mononotonous, and it kind of loses its own point about halfway through. Why do I bring this up?

THE RAIN STARTED before Reuben ever got home, and by the time he locked himself in his room, it was coming down hard in that dreary windless way it so often did in Northern California, slowly, relentlessly drenching everything, and quenching the light of the dying sun, the moon, and the stars completely.
One. Sentence. The first one in chapter seven.

Also, and this is a completely regional thing, but South Texas gets rain about once a semester. And that is not a typo. You can count on one good rainstorm per semester of school. Do not bitch to me about rain. I will gladly trade you the rain for the red flag warnings, the heat, and the water rationing.

Ruben sits down and bitches about the rain. He thinks "What does rain matter to me, now that I 'm a wonderful werewolf?" and then daydreams about his new mansion.

He's a prick, in other words.

Meanwhile we get a paragraph dedicated to everybody who cares about Ruben, most of whom we haven't met yet. This includes his family's housekeeper, named Rosy, who was away on her "yearly trip to Mexico".

Okay then.

She calls the werewolf "Loup garou", so I will now assume that Rosy is french. If she were hispanic, as that "yearly trip to Mexico" implies, she would use something like (according to my quick google-fu for "spanish word for werewolf") hombre lobo, or, you know, WEREWOLF. Because she speaks ENGLISH, and just because one comes from a foreign country doesn't mean you're going to magically forget what English words are whenever your author needs to remind her audience you're from a different ethnicity than the target audience.

And then we find out that all these people are here for a meeting to talk about Ruben behind Ruben's back, because, you know, communicating with your family is bad!

And then Ruben researches reading and watching werewolf movies like Ginger Snaps and something involving Jack Nicholson.

And then treating them as scholarly fact.

I am not exaggerating in the slightest.

 This was fiction, of course, but it presented the phase he was in as transformative and not final. Only in the early stages were some werewolves anthropoid. By the end of Wolf, Jack Nicholson had been a full-blown four-footed animal of the forest. By the end of Ginger Snaps, the unfortunate girl wolf had become a great hideous and repulsive porcine demon.

If we ask nicely will Anne put the thesaurus down? Also, I have watched Ginger Snaps, and it was boring as hell for most of it, interesting for the last ten minutes and then "FUCK YOU MOVIE" for the last thirty seconds. (Seriously. Everybody except the little sister dies horribly. Why do horror movies have the continual need to give their audience the finger?) I would describe the older sister's wolf form as a lot of things, and porcine would not be one of them. It didn't look much like a wolf, but it looked even less like a pig.

 He decides to blow off the movies, except for the part where lycanthropy is refered to as a "gift". Because it makes him feel so good and that...yeah, I got nothing.

This paragraph happens:

Is that so wrong, to want to think of myself as Man Wolf? Again, he tried to muster some compassion for the rapist he’d killed. But he could not.
On the one hand, rapists are bad people. On the other hand, it's using the fact that someone is bad to justify the main hero ripping the fucker's head off and then not feeling guilty for it.

Well, sociopath is a better label than "prick".

And then Ruben decides to go look up that book referenced in the previous chapter, The Man Wolf and Other Tales, and he starts by going directly to's how Anne writes it, not me--and tries to buy one of the old reprints. Good luck. Then he decides to find it for free online. Now, remember kiddies, I found the thing on Project Gutenburg on the second page of the search results for "man-wolf", but apparently Anne can't replicate search results twice in a row, because Ruben winds up going to random horror websites to read fictional stories about werewolves.

And it turns out that Marchant's last name, Nideck, is in the story.

Like we couldn't see that one coming a mile off, given Ruben's obsession with her uncle's papers.

So let me get this straight. Anne Rice expects me to believe that the victim of a random werewolf attack managed to find all the clues he needs via a google search and Project Gutenburg. That Marchant's uncle wouldn't be smart enough to change his last name. That Ruben would be this fucking stupid. The whole "Kid researches their paranormal affliction via movies" thing is funny when it is being played for laughs. This is not being played for laughs.

This is stupid. 

 And THEN Ruben theorizes that the family took the name Nideck from the story to...uh...have a name tied to werewolves?

Yeah. Guys, this is like somebody deciding to name themselves after the fucked up town in Taker because they turn into monster-things and they want somebody to be able to research their name and realize that they turn into monster-things...because cake. That's right. Cake. Realize someone turns into monster things and there is cake.

Well, then, YOU come up with a better explanation.

Ruben continues:

Ah, he had to make an exhaustive search of all werewolf literature. And at once he set about ordering books specifically on werewolf fiction, legends, and poetry, including anthologies and studies, to be delivered overnight.


Two: This is what we call a nervous breakdown. How's this for a thought, Rubes? GO TELL YOUR FAMILY WHAT IS HAPPENING. Show them your selfies. That ought to be good for a couple laughs. They'll tie you to a bed for 24 hours, watch you go hairy, spend the night driving around trying to keep up with you while you go Superwolf on the neighborhood, and then spend the rest of the book trying to save your ass from your furry self.

Then Ruben feels warm and is probably transforming...and then Anne Rice stops writing this story and talks directly to God.

God, what is it like to be You and hear all those people all the time everywhere, begging, imploring, calling out for anything and anyone?

Alrighty then. Moving on.

Ruben starts hearing things, first a rumbling that makes him go to a window, and then a voice chanting "burn him, burn him." So the breakdown is now a little more obvious. He turns into a werewolf and then it becomes clear that he's hearing a crime go down somewhere in the city. Off he goes, without any selfies this time, to rescue some unknown person from unknown things in an unknown way.

Also, note: RUBEN HAS NO REASON TO BECOME SUPERWOLF. Clark Kent became Superman because he was a good guy, he was an alien who had difficulty relating to humanity (TELL ME I AM WRONG) because he was interested in doing good and making a difference, and because he was bored out of his mind (AGAIN. TELL ME I AM WRONG). Spiderman is a better superhero because Spiderman became Spidey out of guilt, and while most of us would have trouble understanding "I want to do good because Good is Right" all of us understand "I want to do good because I fucked up one time and it killed my surrogate father, and I owe him."

Ruben solves crime kills criminals  because his nose can scent evil from three fucking football fields away. And that's it.

Ruben is not a good person. How do we know this? Because Ruben cheated on his girlfriend within three hours of meeting a hot older woman, and decided that his girlfriend can just deal with it because she did it to him first. The character switch between Human!Ruben and Wolf!Ruben is so profound it is creepy. Human!Ruben spends all his time and I do mean all his time thinking about his awesome wolf-self, his awesome house, or how much his family just doesn't understaaaaaaaaaaaaand. Meanwhile there's a busload of kids missing and Ruben would rather cover his own nighttime adventures than try to figure out where the fuck they went, and he'd have a good chance at doing that given that he's cracked criminal rings before. Wolf!Ruben, on the other hand, hears bad go down and he's out the window.

This is not heroic. It's creepy as fuck. Turning into a wolf would be awesome IF I KEPT MY BRAIN, or most of my brain, INTACT. Having another personality take over is not cool. Having another personality as diametrically different from my core as Wolf!Ruben is from Human!Ruben take over every night would make me want to lock myself in a bank vault every night, fur or no fur.

Anyway, to make the next scene short, Ruben finds people trying to burn a man alive, Ruben kills them, and then takes the poor old man home. There is, however, a notable part where Ruben considers chewing one man's heart out, and then thinks,

But no, not the teeth, not the teeth that could give the Wolf Gift, no, he could not risk that.

And I now have NOT TEETH! NOT THE TEETH! Running through my head on permanent repeat.

Also: I think if Ruben had ripped the guy's heart out, the guy turning into a werewolf would be the last of their worries.

Then Ruben finds an old woman whose caretaker is feeding her feces, and basically repeats the same act, this time with a reprehensible woman. Because killing without warning or trial is perfectly justified when your victims are horrible people.

The old woman panicks and start saying Hail Marys, so Ruben says them with her. And if I didn't want to throw Ruben through several buildings I'd say that scene was kind of a nice touch--AND ALSO RIPPED DIRECTLY OUT OF SPIDERMAN--but a nice touch.

Ruben calls the cops, trashes the old woman's house, discovers her husband also tied down to a bed, and then goes home and passes out in his own bed.

Oh, and he got shot in the process, but given that it healed immediately that's kind of a non-event.

End of chapter.

So far this book has given me step-by-step accounts of Anne Rice's research process, about four different super-hero rip-offs, including one that makes me wonder if Anne didn't find the first Toby McGuire Spiderman movie on a late night and fall asleep in front of it, a protagonist with a mild case of DID, and the image of a werewolf taking selfies.

It is the gift that keeps on giving. I think I'm falling in love with it.


And so Starbleached winds down to it's conclusion. Not over forever, my loyal book-readers. Consider this the season finale, and look for it June 4th, 2013


 A force field kept the shuttle bay pressurized while the bay doors slowly cantilevered closed. Space glittered with ten thousand points of light, while explosions bloomed like nebula roses and pieces of alien ships spun into nothing. Violent confetti. The human world beneath it all shown sapphire bright. A chain of evacuating spaceships tried to get even a handful of survivors out of danger. For the moment it was alien-on-alien, the Overseer Cold Faction battling the Eldking. They hadn’t started shooting the human ships yet. Overseers regarded humans as an indispensable resource; they wouldn’t want to destroy too many of them by accident. It had to have been a lucky shot on their part. Nobody should be targeting the lone human ship this far from the actual battle.
They can’t know we intend to mop up once one or the other gets defeated. But we’re not letting them take another human world. Not again.

Return of the Epic Spam

In Episode one we met a haunted house that liked to kill people via social media and then tie them into pretty bows around chairs. I think.

Well, the Epic Bot is back, and this time it has the plague:

For breakfast, I grab an orange from the refrigerator and allow it to function. What treatment of chickenpox rash is a Smallpox Symptoms. When using this cream you will want to be dead and just watching everybody while I chill rooms, treatment of chickenpox rash flicker the lights, and pull the drapes open and shut. A theatre has existed on this site since 1834. One of them had tears in his eyes. Your health care provider may talk to you about your symptoms. The term shingles has Latin connections. The man always paid.

So we have computerized oranges, and a disease that looks like chickenpox but is actually smallpox, and the only treatment makes you want to be dead. It also chills rooms and makes the lights flicker and creates poltergheist activity, so apparently you are posessed by ghosts in treating this plage. An old theater is involved, somehow, and it's weeping. OH, BUT THE TRUE HORROR IS REVEALED: SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. IT'S A LATIN CONSPIRACY TO STEAL ALL YOUR MONEY.

Epic spam. It is the gift that keeps on giving.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Wolf Gift chapter 6 and WTF IS THIS AMAZON

Okay. We'll get to the review in a minute, but just in case you don't already know...


And my loyalties are divided.

On the one hand, I'm kind of like "Well...DUH. This was going to happen eventually." And on the other hand, I'm suddenly every fic ever showcased by Topless Robot, and now have the sudden violent urge to go huddle over in a corner. And on the third hand...(It's an octopus) somebody who has very much written fanfic and then filed the serial numbers off...uh, wouldn't that be like, incredibly boring after a while? Having to stick to that cast of characters and keep them all in Thank you. I get enough headaches.

Thoughts, my lovelies?

Now. For the book.

I sat down and I asked myself if there was anything Ruben could do to make me hate him more. I mean, I already will have the image of a werewolf taking selfies with his iPhone in my brain for all eternity. Really, he can't be more of an ass than he already--

REUBEN DROVE THE PORSCHE too fast on the way to work. The car was always a chained lion in the city.
Oh, right. He's a twenty-three year old entitled author's fantasy, and the author gave him a Porsche.

Ruben needs to go die.

AND, of course, the city has forgotten all about the kidnapping of forty-two children, and is now squarely focused on Ruben's wolfy escapades. Which consisted of a lot of roof hopping and the murder of a single rapist. Because the murder of a rapist is much more interesting than missing kids.

And OF COURSE the woman he rescued has come to him for an interview.

At least Peter Parker had to take his own fucking pictures. The universe didn't drop a camera full of film in his lap.

And while there are lots and lots of articles about how he rescued this chick--all of them tongue in cheek--none of them mention werewolves. One of them mentions Lon Chaney, but at this point I'm getting irritated with how specialy special Anne Rice wants her werewolf story to be. HE IS A FUCKING WEREWOLF. USE YOUR WORDS. 

 Ruben tries to back out of doing the coverage on the excuse that, hello, he just survived a murder/wolf attack and he doesn't want to do another one. His boss says "You're doing it anyway" and walks out of the room.

Everybody in this book is an asshole.

And just in case you think I'm overdoing the superhero comic comparisons:

Reuben went speechless. The blood was pounding in his face. Where the hell are Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen?
Yeah. Anne? If you're going to rip off the most popularized tropes in comic books and try to pass it off as something unique and literary, at least pretend not to be intimately familiar with what you're yanking. I swear to god if there is an actual Spiderman reference I'm going to...there's gonna be one isn't there?

Before he filed the story, he Googled the words “man wolf.” Just as he suspected, the name had been used— for a minor character in the Spider-Man comics, and for another minor character in the manga-anime series Dragon Ball. But he also noted a book called The Man-Wolf and Other Tales by Émile Erckmann and Louis-Alexandre Chatrian, first translated into English in 1876. Good enough. It was in the public domain as far as he was concerned.
TRANSLATION: Anne Rice googled "man-wolf" found the following, decided that it was public domain, somehow also decided that it didn't sound absolutely freaking stupid, and then decided that writing about this search process was the absolute best thing possible. I mean, it worked for Stephenie Meyer. All the hot kids are googling their paranormal afflictions. 

Literally. I just googled it for the fun, and the first result is JJ Jamison's kid, twice, and then a bunch of...uh, gee I hope that's not porn, and then yet more links to Marvel wikis, and Dragonball is the seventh result. That book mentioned is the first result on the second page, hosted via project Gutenberg.

She did, however, leave out all the skatebording links. Because apparently Man-Wolfs are a trademark brand of skating shoes.


And she did all this because "werewolf", a term that is very much public domain, that requires no explination, and that would be the first fucking word anybody would apply to this thing, is not special enough for specialy special Ruben.

There's also a bizzare disconnect between the pop culture references and, you know, reality:

He’d also checked out the YouTubes of reporters in North Beach describing the “back-alley beast.”

Maybe it's just me, but I have never heard youtube videos being called "Youtubes", like they're apples or something. I get that Rice is seventy, and half this stuff wouldn't be in her lexicon, but she shouldn't try to force it so damn hard. It's much more noticable to be using pop culture references wrong than it is to not use them at all.

In short: Ruben writes the story, mails it off, freaks out a little, but not so much that he can't write about his own paranormal escapades, and then goes home. End of chapter.

This has gone all the way through suck and come back around to entertaining. I now want Ruben and Edward Cullen to sit down for blood tea.

The Wolf Gift--Chapter 5

Fair warning, my lovely loyal blog-readers: This is now memorial weekend. Memorial weekend is the day when most waitresses sit in their room and contemplate the sharp objects in their apartment. It is busy, is what I mean to say. THOU SHALT TIP YOUR AMERICAN WAITRESS Is what I mean to say. TIP, my beloved ones. TIP. TIP.

Where are we in the book, now?


Right. We're about to rip off Stan Lee.

Which is a little like stealing candy from an infant, but it's obvious Anne Rice doesn't care.

Ruben is now aware that a whole bussload of students has been kidnapped. Because, you know, just one kid being abducted is too common for our Sunshine Boy to in vestigate. Oh, No. The agony of the kidnapped child must be multiplied across many families for this to be worthy of Ruben's time.

Hey, what kind of kidnapping is this?

He had the news blaring from the radio all the way. All that was known was that the entire student body of forty-two students, aged five years old through eleven, and three teachers had vanished without a trace. A sack containing the teacher’s cell phones and a couple of phones that had belonged to the students had been found at a call box on Highway One, with a printed note: “Wait For Our Call.”

Did they add a pink bow? They really should have added a pink bow. I mean, this is obviously "Generic kidnappers R us," so they ought to have a Douglas Adams special here...

Oh, and the kidnappers were careful. No public school scum for them. No. This was a private school. So we can all sympathize with the kidnapping victims. Because we all went to private school

(...FYI I did go to private school for one year. It was the most miserable year of my life)

(My sympathies are with the kidnappers, is what I'm saying. I'm sure after the fifth hour of Veggie Tales Silly Songs with Larry, they're willing to give the kids back.)

(Welcome to my child. AKA The Ransom of Red Cheif)

 Oh, and we are assured that the teachers are, and I quote "Earth mothers" and the children are the best kids in the universe (I was on the basketball team for my private school. Because I was tall, and because there were a grand total of three girls in the seventh and eighth grades, and I was the difference between having a full girl's team, and having to stick with the co-ed division, which sadly existed in the North Texas Rabidly Christian Private School universe. One of my teammates spent the entire drive between Stephenville TX and Abilene singing Silly Songs with Larry. MY SYMPATHIES ARE WITH THE KIDNAPPERS.


Also: We are assured that the private school of 42 students had their own very special bus made special. Just for them.

My private school went on a feild trip once, from Stephenville to Austin. Those of you unfamiliar with TX might assume this is simple. This is a five hour drive that began at five AM, comprising the entire seventh and eighth-grade classes. About ten students in all. We drove in the teacher's little volvo and my father's much more spacious suburban. This was back in 98. I remember the boys got stir crazy first, and began issuing chinese fire drills at every single fucking stoplight once we hit Austin city limits. The girls mantained their sanity until about two PM, when we were on our way back (having toured the governors mansion back when Dubbaua was the TX state governor, and the capitol building) and they purchased a set of wax bottles of sugar, which they somehow managed to spill on every concievable surface during the process of consumption. I also remember my dad having to beg the girls not to hang pieces of paper towel and/or t-shirts out the window, becuase this signaled to police that we had a medical emergancy onboard, and we didn't have a medical emergency onboard, just teenaged girls with WAY TOO MUCH SUGAR.


Oh, but we are assured that Rubans Thumbs are on the case. They are on the case with his iPhone.

  Reuben’s thumbs were going as he typed on his iPhone, describing the picturesque three-story building, surrounded by venerable oaks, and masses of wildflowers, including poppies, and marguerites and azaleas blooming on the shady grounds.
Our grounds had tulips. Dying tulips, because whoever got assigned the landscaping didn't understand that Texas, even North Texas, doesn't have a winter. We also had poppies, but those grew along the railroad tracks we weren't supposed to walk beside.

Ruben goes to the school. A random photographer asks him for advice. NOTE TO WOULD BE PHOTOGRAPHERS: DO NOT ASK OTHER PEOPLE FOR ADVICE, BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT YOU GET:

“Get the whole scene,” said Reuben a little impatiently. “Get the sheriff up there on the porch; get the feel of the school itself."



And then we get a blow-by-blow account of Ruben's life after he goes home. Because, you know, that crime scene full of weeping parents, that's totally boring.

This happens:

An extraordinary restlessness came over him. He got up, paced, went back to bed. He was lonely, hideously lonely. He hadn’t really been with Celeste since before the massacre. He didn’t want to be with Celeste now. He kept thinking that if he was with Celeste, he’d hurt her, bruise her somehow, run roughshod over her feelings. Wasn’t he doing that these days without their putting it to the bedroom test?

It goes on to a fantasy about Marchant. Because a kidnapping involving innocent children is all about you and your infidelity.

And now we get Ruben's first transformation. And instead of it being a malstrom of pain IE An American Werewolf in London, it is, of course, a transcendant experiance of which ONLY RUBEN COULD BE WORTHY.

Gag me.

Every particle of his body was defined in these waves, the skin covering his face, his head, his hands, the muscles of his arms and legs. With every particle of himself he was breathing, breathing as he’d never breathed in his life, his whole being expanding, hardening, growing stronger and stronger by the second.
I'm not kidding. Please. Gag me with a spork.

We also get random, unattributed dialogue!

“Oh, but you knew, didn’t you? Didn’t you know this was inside of you, bursting to come out? You knew!”


AND OF COURSE, his transformation has something to do with Marchant. Because OF COURSE IT DOES.

And then he is fully transformed in a truely orgasmic way, know, I was kidding about the Spiderman references. Really. Rice didn't have to actually employ them:

 From one house to another he sped, going lower and lower as he made his way down towards the traffic and noise of North Beach, flying so fast now that he scarce touched down on the smaller slopes, his clawed hands flying out to grasp whatever he needed to hoist his easy weight and send him flying over the next street or alleyway.

Tell me you do not see Toby McGuire swinging between the rooftops here.

He sees a random rape victim and rescues her. No big. To him, anyway. I mean, she's going to be scarred for life, but Ruben gets to rescue her so it is all okay.

I mean, he only rips the rapist's throat out.

 This happens:

A hideous scent rose from the man, if indeed it was a scent. It was as if the man’s intent was a scent, and it maddened Reuben.


Now. How do we treat the rape victim after all this?

The woman stood stark still, her arms crossed over her breasts, staring at him. Feeble, choking sounds came out of her. How utterly miserable and pitiable she was. How unspeakable that anyone would do such evil to her. She was shaking so violently that she could scarce stand, one naked shoulder visible above the torn red silk of her dress.

There are a lot of buzzwords I could use for this, but I'm going to stick with the simpliest and most effective pairing; FUCK YOU RUBEN.


And of course the rape victim rejects Ruben's attempt at comfort, mostly because it involved him ripping her rapist's throat out. Of course Ruben, in all his perfection, will be misunderstood. Of course he will.

I am now invisioning a werewolf in Roschach's clothing, rambling about how the Comedian is dead. Which is probably the wrong reference but if you want to invoke comic book orgin stories, Watchmen is one of the better ones. Aside from the whole "Rape saved the entire world" theme.

Ruben then teleports back to his bedroom.

I am not making that up.

And then he sees himself in the mirror. And he reacts with perfectly natural horror and--yeah, I'm not fooling any of you, am I?

“So this was the manner of beast that saved me in Marchent’s house, was it?” He laughed again that low, irresistible rolling laughter. Of course. “And you bit me, you devil. And I didn’t die from the bite and now it’s happened to me.” He wanted to laugh out loud. He wanted to roar with laughter.

There isn't enough "Fuck you" In the world.

Seriously. This is his first transformation. It really shouldn't make me want to dip the bastard in acid.

And just when you think it can't get any better, this happens:

He wanted to cover his face with his hands. But he didn’t have hands. Instead, he held up the iPhone and clicked a picture of himself. And again and again.

Yes. My beloved Blog-Readers. Ruben's first impulse when he discovers he is a werewolf is to use his iPhone to take a selfie.

There is only one comment worthy of this beautific moment:

Ruben considers using his powers to go conquer evil...but he decides he's better off getting a drink of water first.


And then he passes out, changes back, and checks his iPhone for his selfies, which naturally reveal the manwolf looking back at him. Because I guess Stephenie Meyer ruined werewolf for Ms. Rice, and we have to use a word paring less passe.

And then we get the natural freak out of "OH MY GOD I AM A WEREWOLF."

Only those words are never used.

And of course he justifies the fact that his first act as a werewolf was killing a man by the fact that the man was a rapist.

Okay, you got a point, but you still killed a dude in less than twelve hours of being a full blown wolf. Please. Spare me the attempt at morality.

And then we get Marchant transcendant, because of course the life of a backally rape victim cannot compare to the glories of a rich white woman who happened to leave our protagonist her house.

Can this chapter end now? Please?

And then this happens:

No one must know because not a single person in this world could be trusted not to incarcerate the thing he’d become, and he had to know infinitely more about what had happened and whether it would happen again and when and how. This was his journey! His darkness.

It's a little premature to say "trees died for this" but folks? TREES DIED FOR THIS. LOTS. AND LOTS. OF TREES.

FINALLY Ruben's dad makes him stop admiring himself in the mirror because his job is calling him and SOMEBODY in this book needs to act like a frickin' adult.

Yeah. Trees died for this shit.